Saturday, December 15, 2018


Start off with some wet-in-wet washes on his neck and ear, and some dry brush on his nose. I use the same pigments throughout in varying combinations - quin.  burnt orange, quin. violet and indanthrone.

... just deepening existing washes, and adding more detail as I go along ...

The background is painted with the same colours, stroking down some paint then softening ...

... doing this a few times to achieve depth in the background

Here they are - Bruno I [framed] and Bruno II.

Reference photo - summer coat

Photo taken just this last October when Bruno was part of a modelling shoot. I LOVE this photo, and the editing David did to get that dark atmosphere. Bruno really looks like the proverbial "horse of  different colour" here. Actually, his summer coat is quite a bit lighter and redder, while his winter coat is almost black.    He starts to shed out in August, starting to replace the lighter, finer hair with darker hair, and then the coat thickens and lengthens.

Why did I paint Bruno again when I already have a beautiful work of him hanging on my wall? Well ... earlier this year, I was commissioned to paint a huge rooster for a woman to give to her husband [his Chinese astrological sign is the rooster]. She felt her English was inadequate, so she brought a friend to help translate. Her friend fell in love with my painting of Bruno, and asked to buy it. I said it was not for sale, but could paint another for her. The two women also came down to the barn to meet His Highness, and I have a feeling Dora [the friend who commissioned Bruno's portrait] fell in love with Bruno. So we may be giving horsemanship lessons this Spring!

Thank you so much for visiting!

Sunday, November 25, 2018


Maggie, sorely in need of entertainment and exercise, has resorted to  caving in the hay shed.

She finds a slot between the bales, and dives down, looking for rodents.

Sometimes she completely disappears, and I wonder if I am going to have to excavate her from the hay!

Second start on the BIG rooster. The finished size was about 25 x 30 inches.

Looking quite handsome and rooster-ish.

Now the background ...

Finished ... finally! Picked up, and ready to fly off to Hong Kong to his new home.

I disappeared off the radar, as I was having a lot of trouble with pain, arthritis, muscle spasm - I was not a happy puppy. I barely felt like doing anything, just forced myself to take care of the animals as best I could, and teach my weekly watercolour class.  I was even on synthetic opioids for six weeks. That is a nasty drug. I have weaned myself off, and am now being much more proactive  in taking care of myself. I still visit with my yoga therapist weekly - she is a god-send! And I regularly see a physiotherapist to help with eliminating muscle spasm, and getting some proper strengthening exercises done at his clinic. So I am feeling much better physically and emotionally. I am sketching and painting again, and riding Bruno every other day, and getting out with the dogs again, too. Lordy, I missed being outside in Nature!!!

The rooster was commissioned by a woman, in August,  for her husband's birthday [and I am sure I missed the date]. But she picked her painting up on Friday, and was so happy with him - I was thrilled. So SeƱor Rooster is off to Hong Kong in December to settle in his new home.

Monday, October 15, 2018


Getting to know each other ... the apple helped

Bruno was an absolute gentleman when it came to being photographed with Olena [the model] holding the reins.

Here's David, totally absorbed in getting the perfect photos.

Check out the wild head-dress!
My yoga therapist's husband is a professional photographer. Janine came out here for a visit in the summer, and thought David should meet Bruno. Bruno is easy-going, fairly calm about all that life throws at him [except ducks, but that's another story]. So David was here a few weeks ago, and thought Brunz would be good in a photo shoot. We arranged to meet yesterday. David poked around to find some interesting spots with good light, and Olena [the model - a sweetheart] looked for places to change her outfits. All went very well with Olena posing, holding Bruno's reins. Then we tried to get Olena on his back without a saddle. That was not a hit with Bruno, and Olena ended on the ground. So we tried with the saddle - that was better, till Bruno decided he wanted to go off exploring, and lost Olena again. I must say, I admire her - she is game and tough, and still loved Bruno when we finished the shoot. I think David got some great photos of the the steampunk jewelry - the purpose of the exercise. As for Bruno's carrier as a model ... we shall see :)
I was very impressed with the professionally of David and Olena. If you'd like to see some of David's work, his website is www.hypnoticphoto.ca 
Thank you for dropping by!

Monday, October 1, 2018


Grace's landscape. She really has a good feel for this subject matter. Me, I have to drag myself, kicking and screaming to do a landscape.

Grace's sunflower

Jessie's sunflower. Jess' strength is to carefully develop the depth of the work. She loves doing florals and animals. 

My sunflower, slowly taking shape.

Commission I am working on. The is the 2nd rendition. I am at the stage where I need to get some background on there, so I can see how much more I must develop the star of the painting.

Another commission. A woman came to visit a few weeks ago, and wanted to know how much I wanted for the portrait of Bruno I have in my living area. I told her it was not for sale, but would paint another ...

Next class project is rooster!!!!This and the one above are two I did several years ago.

I haven't been doing a lot of painting lately. The arthritis pain has been keeping me quiet, and if I do feel better, I try to get out to do some barn work or have a short ride on Bruno. But the pain is abating, so hopefully I can get back to doing more. Apparently the stem cells take at least three to six months to have effect, and what I am feeling are arthritis symptoms which seem to come and go in waves. C'est la vie ...

Thank you so much for dropping by!


The province of British Columbia is holding its municipal elections later this month. This means, here in Langley,  all resident voters are able to vote for their township's mayor, eight members of council, and five school trustees. There has been a lot of "development" over the past number of years, and it has reached the stage where farmland is being sold and "developed" as housing tracts. I honestly don't know what the people who decide to move in this direction are thinking. Really .. if all the farmland is gone, what will we all eat? ... concrete and plywood??? You know how much I love the natural world, and I cannot stand by and let it disappear. So I encourage you to vote in this upcoming election. I have taken the liberty of compiling a list of candidates who seem the least likely to be in favour of rampant over-development. 

Mayor - Anna Remenik

Councillors - Petrina Arnason
                                Gail Chaddok-Costello
                        Michelle Connerty
              David Davis
               Kim Richter
                       Michelle Sparrow
                    Harold Whittell
                            Jonathan Houwelling

School trustees - Megan Dykeman
                           Suzanne Perrault
                                    Cheryl Snowdon-Eddy
                David Tod
                      Marnie Wilson

Thank you for your visit today!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

A letter to the premier and relevant minister of British Columbia

No paintings today, though I am working on several. Instead, I am posting a letter that I sent to several members of the government of British Columbia. It is my hope that others in the my area and the province, if reading this, are inspired to write, to voice their feelings. And perhaps others around the world will be  inspired as well. I believe our world, our home, is in a sad way, and we all must do something to rectify the problems. Here is the letter ...

I am writing to express my very deep concern about how the destruction of agricultural and greenspace land has been allowed to take place over the past twenty years, all done in the professed attempt to create affordable housing. It is happening without care and thought to ecological sustainability. The availability of affordable and attractive housing has not appreciably increased, and available agricultural land has decreased alarmingly.

Living in South Langley, I am saddened and angered to see the proliferation of unattractive tracts of housing developments of inadequate environmental quality. Housing developments should be an integral part of a healthy community, but what is being built all over Langley bears little or no connection to the existing communities. Furthermore, these concentrated areas of tract housing are being constructed at the expense of viable and valuable farmland which, once lost, is gone forever.

The time of unplanned and mindless use of resources should - must - be a thing of the past. I find it unthinkable that your government is so myopic as to continue to allow short-term financial gain for a few to prevail over long-term concern and responsibility for the sustainability of agriculture and environment.

To summarize, it is my feeling that you are obtusely mismanaging a beautiful and rich land. I hope you have the vision and wisdom to correct this deleterious situation.

Please feel free to paraphrase or copy the letter. And thank you so much for dropping by!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018


I LOVE riding and horses more than anything!

Bruno and me a couple of years ago.

Bruno having a pleasant munch in the back garden.

Photo reference for a painting I am re-doing. I have a painting of Bruno hanging in my living area. A visitor was here a few days ago, and wanted to know how much I wanted for the painting. I told her it was not for sale, but I would be happy to paint another. So I will work on that while waiting to ride.

I have loved horses for as long as I can remember. I drew them, played with plastic figures of horses, rode carousel horses, even "rode" statues of horses. And occasionally I got to be around the real thing. I didn't start riding till I was thirty, when I could afford my own horse. I became much more physically active, and yes, had a lot of accidents. I had a very bad cycling accident when someone drove into me from behind, doing about 50 mph. The next year, I came off a young horse, and she proceeded to buck, with her hind feet pounding down on me. Neither of these incidents were fully addressed medically, so my right hip area has had a lot of abuse and not much care.
The past few years have been especially hard with pain, stiffness ... all of those arthritic symptoms. I have been seeing a yoga therapist who has helped immensely, and I will continue to see her. My physician sent me off to an orthopaedic surgeon who looked at the X-ray, did some manipulation and decided I needed a full hip replacement. He described the surgery and showed me the replacement joint. I went home and gave it some thought. I was totally unprepared to go through that surgery! I started to look for options, and  found stem cell therapy. I researched it for several weeks, and then found  a clinic near Vancouver that performs the procedure. Three weeks ago, I had the treatment - an autologous, adipose-derived stem cell and platelet-rich plasma injection into the joint area via ultrasound guidance. A few days ago, I had a follow-up injection of PRP. I must say ... so far, so good. I have less pain and more mobility. The hard part is not being able to ride. I suppose I could try, but I think it would be better for those stem cells to get better established in my hip joint. So here I sit, 
waiting impatiently  ... I'll give those busy little cells another few days, and then carefully have a short and gentle ride.

Thank you for visiting!

Sunday, August 26, 2018


This intriguing-looking bird is the Greater Adjutant stork.  It lives and nests in two areas in southeast Asia. In the Assam region of India, there is a conservation effort being carried on to save the birds and their wetlands.
At the request of a friend, I did two paintings of this stork.

My friend, Christine, is in the middle, with Purnima [in the dark jacket] on the left.

This is one of the table decorations made for the International Ornithological Congress/Women in Science luncheon  honouring Purnima's work. The congress was held in Vancouver in late August.
Several weeks ago, Christine [an ecologist with Environment Canada] asked me if I could do a painting of the stork. She showed me some images, and needless to say, I found him a somewhat homely bird, but interesting at the same time. I created two paintings, one of which Christine has kept, and the other has been framed and presented to Purina Devi Barman, the biologist who has spearheaded the campaign to conserve the bird and its wetlands environment. She is a wildlife biologist working for an Indian wildlife conservation organization, and is educating the local communities about the saving the bird and its wetlands environment.

Swift fox
I subscribe to the Nature Conservancy of Canada newsletter. I was very happy to recently read that this fox is making a comeback in Canada. It was considered extirpated [regionally extinct] in the 1930s. But thanks to a captive breeding and re-introduction programme in the Canadian prairies, it is making a comeback. 

Vancouver Island Marmot

Townsend's mole

The fox, the marmot and the mole [sounds like the start of a fairy tale] are presently on display at a nearby framing gallery. The owner of the gallery is showing her support of a Critter Care, a local wildlife rescue organization.

Thank you for visiting!

Monday, August 6, 2018

By Way of an Explanation ...

I took this in early June. Everything was so lush and green. The photo below was taken a few minutes ago, around 10 AM.

Bruno munching away on his winter supply of hay.

The photos do not have too much in  the way of explanation, but they do, in a small way.  I was spurred to write after reading Judy Barends' blog. It is unseasonably hot and dry in the Netherlands, to the point where it is affecting food production. The same is happening here, and we are experiencing bad wildfires in the interior of the province. I know it is due to climate change, and I am saddened and angered by our provincial and national governments' lack of positive action in this regard. You appreciate, from my art subjects, how profoundly I love Nature, and to see it being destroyed is extremely distressing to me. I have written letters to various levels of government, and become involved with local groups. But I feel this is not nearly enough. I have been doing a lot of reading and research on different aspects of the overall problem, and have come to the conclusion that to achieve any meaningful change in the destructive direction the world's leaders have taken, a complete and radical transformation of the economy [which affects and is affected by social and behavioural qualities of human nature] is imperative.

Thank you for stopping by and reading ...